-Posted by Isaac
It's been a tough week for the Barnes clan. All of us except Mommy came down with the flu or a bug of some sort. So Jayne had to play the role of nurse in a house filled with coughing, hacking, spitting, gagging, vomit, urine, tears, crying, moaning, whining, outright screaming and gnashing of teeth...
And, after me, she had three sick kids to tend to. Sometimes I just don't know how she does it.
But now it's Saturday morning, the weather has turned warm and beautiful, Mommy is up at the Worthington Market and I've got the kids. I think we'll go on a picnic to Hargus Lake.
Before we go, I thought I would get this up -- the long awaited beeswax post. I've had these pictures stored since September, so it's about time. Sometimes we get questions about how the beeswax candles are made, where the wax comes from, if they're pure, etc...
So here you go, in more pictures than words, our wax processing:
The bees have a gland that produces wax, and they have an obvious purpose for it; building of comb. The comb not only serves as their home, a place for larvae, and rearing of young, it also serves as food storage. This is where they put the pollen and honey. When a frame of honey is dried down to around 17% moisture, the bees will seal it off with a wax capping.
When the honey comes into the honey house, the first job in extraction is to remove this wax capping so that the frames can be spun and the honey will flow out:
After several weeks of draining, I take the nearly dry wax outside and let the bees eat the little bit of honey they can get to.
The wax is then put into a melter set at 180 degrees.
The burlap bag serves as an initial filter, straining out dead bees, wood chips from frames, leaves, etc...
|Dripping a few minutes|
The melted wax is then ladled off the top:
...and poured into forms which will sit and wait for further cleaning:
After several rounds of this, what comes off the bottom of the melter tank is basically burnt honey. This, we sell as our high priced Christmas blend.
At the end of the season the further cleaning part starts:
The wax is remelted (160 degrees), again ladled off the top, and this time run through a 400 micron filter in order to catch some of the smaller pieces of dirt. You can see where the "clean molds" end up, awaiting their fate:
Candles being the fate for most of the wax. Although a fair amount is just resold in smaller sized blocks to people doing their own craft.
The larger clean molds are chopped into small pieces then put into a double boiler for the final pour.
December is a busy time for beeswax candles as everyone seems to want that perfect unique handcrafted gift.
-posted by Isaac